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Riches in Niches!
Riches in Niches!
How to be a Big Fish in a small pond no matter what business you may be in
For years, big name companies such as Citigroup, General Electric and Clear Channel have been expanding at break-neck speeds, but as the recession takes its toll what's the one thing all of them are doing now? They're shedding anything that isn't part of their core competency so they can focus on increasing profits from the things they do best. And that's exactly where our focus should be right now ' finding riches in niches. I'll show you how.
Think of all the entrepreneurs who have made a difference: Thomas Edison, Henry Ford, Walt Disney, Bill Gates, Oprah Winfrey and so on. You may not even think of them as working in a niche today, but each one made a name for themselves by focusing on one thing. There were plenty of other inventors, artists, computer technicians and journalists who were probably just as talented, whom we never heard about.
So what makes these business leaders stand out?
Each one created a breakthrough. Thomas Edison's invention of the light bulb changed our lives forever. Henry Ford made it possible for all people, not just the wealthy, to travel, and changed our cities and suburbs in the process. Walt Disney turned his movie empire into a magical kingdom that every family wants to enjoy. Bill Gates changed how we communicate at work and at home. Oprah Winfrey created an entire entertainment empire that is enjoyed by millions of people every day. Each person took their expertise and found a breakthrough that changed how we do business or how we live. And in the process, they created a crowd of followers.
As an entrepreneur, your goal is to create a breakthrough. Unfortunately, it's not enough to just be good at something or to be an expert. There are thousands of other inventors, computer experts and talk show hosts, but to get yourself noticed and stand out from the crowd, you need a breakthrough. You want to take your expertise a step further and find something that will help others in your field do their job easier, faster or at less cost.
You often see this approach used when a new book is introduced. For the book to sell, it must have a new system or process to get attention. For example, my new e-book, Secret of the Watermelon, is the only one that I know of that talks about how a business turnaround can only begin with the business owner using the same secret that I've shared with my clients for years.
The biggest secret of all to running a successful business is to create a breakthrough. It doesn't need to change the world, but it should change how people do things in your niche. It should either make your prospects' lives simpler or better using your solution. You'll get noticed and your prospects will start coming to you for answers.
Steven Covey, in his book 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, introduced the seven principles that would help readers better manage their time and to accomplish the things they've always wanted. Jim Collins, in his book Good to Great, unveiled the stories among great company leaders. Tom Peters, in his book In Search of Excellence, uncovered the mystery behind some of the truly excellent companies.Each one had a breakthrough idea that could be marketed as new or innovative. Before we go any farther, I have to qualify this statement to say that their ideas are not as dramatic or innovative as they might appear. That doesn't mean their work isn't valuable. Their work has changed a lot of lives. But many of the concepts are not new. Steven Covey, for instance, says he researched many of the ideas from some of the great thinkers and leaders throughout history. Jim Collins spent five years researching and interviewing CEOs to get their ideas. And Tom Peters' work is the result of hundreds of interviews with business leaders.
What they did do ' and did very effectively ' is present the ideas in a new way. Their breakthrough is how they presented the ideas so others could then follow their advice. Please don't think you have to become the next Steven Covey, Tom Peters or even Bill Gates or Thomas Edison to be successful, however. You can apply the same concepts to your niche and present your breakthrough in a report, in a white paper, in a book, at a conference presentation, in a workshop, on a video or on a DVD, or wherever you may chose to launch it. Those are just channels to reveal your breakthrough.
The most important thing is to develop a breakthrough. And like I said, you don't have to be world-famous to do it. In fact, you want to avoid working in big ponds. Very few people can be a big fish in a big pond.
Be a BIG fish in a small pond
I prefer to operate in niches, and most successful businesses perform best in small, narrowly defined niches; so most of my guidance will be focused on working within small markets. Most of the people running niche businesses earning millions of dollars each year are not household names. They're people you've probably never heard of, but each is a leading authority in their field who have made a name for themselves with a breakthrough that is changing other people's lives.
Bob Bly is one of the foremost experts on writing direct marketing copy and has made millions teaching others how to sell products and services using direct mail (www.bly.com).
Dave Lindahl, a former landscaper and construction worker who barely had enough to pay his bills, is now one of the most sought-after real estate investment teachers. From his experience rehabbing homes and investing in apartment buildings, he developed a system that is now used by 87,000 of his students nationwide (www.real-estate-fortune.com).
What breakthrough can you offer in your niche? How will it help your prospects do something faster, easier or better?
A chiropractor who was struggling trying to bring patients into his office, Dr. Ben Altadonna discovered an innovative marketing approach that he's now teaching to thousands of other chiropractors (www.BenAltadonna.com).
Alexis Martin Neely left her high-paying job at a very prestigious Los Angeles estate planning firm to create a very different law firm that actively tries to build a lifelong relationship with clients. She's now teaching her breakthrough system to other attorneys who are tired of the grind (www.martinneely.com).
Christina Hills left her special effects and film job with filmmaker George Lucas' company Industrial Light and Magic in Los Angeles to spend more time with her family and help other businesses create online shopping carts. She's now known as the 'shopping cart queen' and is teaching other online marketers and web designers how to build shopping carts for their websites (www.shoppingcartqueen.com).
A longtime baker who often found himself giving other bakers advice, Gerard Haggett is now launching a consulting business advising bakery and deli owners how to market their businesses (www.gerards.ca).
Weary after being laid off three times, Susan Friedman finally pursued an idea she first had as a teenager in London and started training exhibitors how to sell at trade shows. While she and her dad were drawing crowds to their booth, others were sitting idle. She's now the author of more than 10 self-published books and is also the author of Meeting and Event Planning for Dummies (www.thetradeshowcoach.com) and Riches in Niches: How to Make it Big in Small Markets (www.richesinniches.com).
Mike DiPaula and Bill McDonald now spend only about three hours a day in their mortgage consulting office (www.advdirect.net) and are teaching other entrepreneurs how to put the same systems in place so they can capitalize on marketing and pursuing other business ventures (www.nobsbaltimore.com).
In every case, the entrepreneurs found a better, faster or cheaper way of doing something and leveraged their expertise to build their business. Some borrowed practices from other industries and applied them to their own field. Some seized on opportunities that others in the market were ignoring. Some just made their business simpler. And some used their experience to develop a system that others could implement on their own.